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Maddocks case study

A case study that shows how innovation has transformed the legal services industry.

Established in 1885, legal services company Maddocks has more than a century of experience adapting to changing markets. Today the firm is using this experience to create a strategic framework with innovation at its core.

Maddocks partner Shaun Temby says: “For many years law firms were immune from competition and disruption due to the esoteric nature of their business models. Clients and competitors have now pierced this veil of secrecy, reducing barriers to entry and transforming the competitive landscape.

“New software in areas such as large-scale document production has been one of the biggest shifts in traditional service delivery, ushering in ‘NewLaw’ firms that can compete for more commoditised work.

Structural challenge

“The trade-off between billable hours and freeing up staff for research and development is a structural challenge,” he says.

Shaun explains that Maddocks’ focus on one of its core values, stewardship, has created a foundation for a more methodical approach to innovation across the firm.

“Historically we saw pockets of innovation throughout the business, like our leading Maddocks eContract platform or the property development sector and our ePortfolio offering. 

Innovation committee

“In the last two years we realised that if you truly want to develop a culture of innovation you need to have a framework. Critical to this is a safe space to experiment, explore new ideas and in some cases fail – while still ensuring that outputs meet a certain standard.”

In the past 18 months Maddocks has established an innovation committee made up of senior partners and an innovation Action Group to drive engagement in the firm's innovation strategy. It has launched a crowd sourcing platform to capture and process ideas from across the firm. It has also appointed a chief information officer and is rolling out broader innovation programs – all key to the firm’s commitment to developing its own culture of innovation.  

Maddocks also recently held idea-generation sessions, tech demonstrations and a hackathon as part of its first annual innovation week.

Things you should know: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. The FY17 CommBank Professional Services Business Insights Report is based on a sub-set of a wide-ranging quantitative survey of 2,195 business owners, decision makers and managers. This sub-set comprises responses from 217 businesses within the Professional Services sector (including legal, accounting, scientific and technical services). The survey was conducted on behalf of the Commonwealth Bank by DBM Consultants between August and September 2016, with further analysis by the Commonwealth Bank. Participants were drawn from businesses across Australia with an annual turnover of over $500,000 and at least two employees. The survey was designed to benchmark the innovation performance of each business, identifying the key motivations and drivers influencing their performance, and highlighting best practice. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian credit licence 234945.